Crazy MLB Proposals: The SP-Only DH

There have been plenty of wacky designated hitter proposals in the past, but I think I should cover my own version of the “SP-only DH” here for posterity.

TERMINOLOGY

DH rights: The right to have a designated hitter bat for the pitcher without removing the pitcher from the game
Shared lineup spot: The spot in the batting order shared between the SP and DH; this is the equivalent of the DH spot in the current rulebook
Replaced player: The player whose lineup spot is temporarily occupied by the SP or DH in various scenarios where the team loses their DH rights but both players remain in the game
Displaced player: The SP or DH who temporarily occupies the non-shared lineup spot in various scenarios where the team loses their DH rights but both players remain in the game
Temporary DH: A player who has temporary DH rights through substitution

THE BASIC RULE

A team has the right to list a designated hitter who bats in the pitcher’s spot for as long as the starting pitcher remains in the game. If the DH or SP exits the game or moves to the field, the team loses their DH rights.

SUBSTITUTION FOR THE DESIGNATED HITTER

A team may substitute for the DH, provided the DH has batted or the opposing team has changed pitchers. The substitute becomes the temporary DH for the duration of the half-inning. At the conclusion of the half-inning, the team loses their DH rights, and either the substitute or the SP must exit the game as they cannot both occupy the shared lineup spot. Any substitute for a temporary DH during the half-inning becomes a temporary DH themselves.

The SP may bat in the shared lineup spot, provided the DH has batted or the opposing team has changed pitchers. If the SP bats or runs for the DH, including any temporary DH, the team loses their DH rights as in the current rulebook.

SUBSTITUTION FOR THE STARTING PITCHER

If the SP exits the game, the team loses their DH rights. The DH is out of the game unless he moves to the field simultaneously with the entrance of the new pitcher.

The DH may enter the game at pitcher, provided the SP has pitched to at least one batter. The rule works the same as in the current rulebook.

MOVING THE DH OR SP TO THE FIELD

If the DH or SP is moved to the field, the team loses their DH rights, and one of the DH/SP must become a displaced player if the other does not simultaneously exit the game. If either the DH or the replaced player has batted, the displaced player is automatically the SP; otherwise, the team’s manager has the choice of which player to displace.

The displaced player “occupies” the lineup spot of the replaced player, but cannot bat in that spot as the lineup card listed them in the shared lineup spot. If the displaced lineup spot is due to bat, the team’s manager must immediately substitute for the displaced player before the game continues.

If a displaced player is substituted normally before the immediate substitution rule can take effect, the lineup spot is no longer displaced and the substitute is legally allowed to bat in the formerly displaced lineup spot.

OTHER

If, in the crew chief’s opinion, a team deliberately makes an out to delay their displaced lineup spot from batting until the next inning, the crew chief reserves the right to eject the players involved in such an act and/or the displaced player from the game.

The umpiring crew cannot revoke a team’s DH rights without ejecting the DH or SP from the game.

The NFL’s “Gold Weeks” Scheduling

So there’s reporting going on that the NFL may be scheduling some “Gold Weeks” with a large number of rematches of past Super Bowls. With 19 rematches to go around, it seems like the easiest thing to do would be condensing them into three weeks, with 7 in the first week and 6 in two later weeks.

Here’s a potential way these “Gold Weeks” can happen, assuming the NFL stacks the marquee matchups in Week 1.

WEEK 1 (FIRST GOLD WEEK)

Bengals-49ers (Two-time matchup, only Bengals SB matchup)
Cardinals-Steelers (Only Cardinals SB matchup)
Chiefs-Packers (First Super Bowl)
Dolphins-Redskins (Perfect season)
Eagles-Patriots (Locked to Week 1 because the Patriots must host the Kickoff Game)
Giants-Bills (Wide Right)
Jets-Colts (Namath’s guarantee / Only SB where both teams are now in the same conference)

SECOND GOLD WEEK

Cowboys-Bills (Two-time matchup, though neither was competitive)
Packers-Broncos
Patriots-Giants (Two-time matchup, 18-1/Helmet Catch)
Ravens-49ers
Steelers-Rams
Vikings-Raiders

THIRD GOLD WEEK

Bills-Redskins
Cowboys-Dolphins
Steelers-Seahawks
Saints-Colts
Chiefs-Vikings
Packers-Raiders

The Super Pick Six: Analyzing TMQ

In this week’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback, Gregg Easterbrook pointed out that teams with an interception return touchdown are 12-0 (ed. note: actually 11-0) in the Super Bowl, compared to 2-2 for fumble returns and 4-6 for kick returns. Obviously this is partially the result of trailing teams passing more, and throwing more pick-sixes… so what if I apply this analysis to the regular season?

All the following calculations double-count if multiple touchdowns are scored in the same way. For example, a team with three pick-sixes would count triple toward this ranking.

Since 1966, teams with an interception return touchdown are 1692-470-9 (0.781).
When already winning, teams are 1215-94-4 (0.927).
When the team takes the lead, teams are 386-199-3 (0.659). Note that 19 of these touchdowns were walk-offs in overtime.
When the team ties the game, teams are 52-45-1 (0.535).
When the team is still trailing after the touchdown, teams are 35-131-1 (0.213)

Yes, I’m aware those numbers don’t exactly line up, there are a few duplicates I filtered out of the later searches.

Of the thirteen pick-sixes in Super Bowl history, twelve were with the team already ahead and one took the lead. (There are thirteen pick-sixes and eleven games because Super Bowl XXXVII had three pick-sixes by the same team.) The random chance that all eleven teams would win, ignoring ties because the Super Bowl can’t end in a tie, is 30.84% – which is enough of a chance to make me feel like this is reasonably possible through random chance.

For what it’s worth, the teams with pick-sixes in the Super Bowl were actually worse on average than their opponents, with a 156-40-1 (0.794) mark compared to their opponents’ 157-37-1 (0.808).

New Orleans Bowl: Nevada vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

The Best Two Weeks On TV

Well, it’s bowl season, and that means it’s time to liveblog about 30 games over the next two weeks. This is gonna suck.

Anchor Down

At tonight’s Vanderbilt/Temple game, the referee announced at the start of the second quarter that Vanderbilt was being charged a timeout per half for wearing non-permissible jerseys, but later rescinded the ruling and allowed Vandy to keep all their timeouts. This was due to the “Anchor Down” slogan on the back of the jersey. While I cannot say exactly why the ruling was rescinded, there are a few obvious theories.

The NCAA rule in question states that schools (except for the service academies) cannot place slogans on the back of the jersey, and that teams are charged one team timeout at the start of each quarter if illegal uniforms are worn. This is the same rule change that may affect Marshall’s numbers, as I mentioned in a previous post. Even though it was theoretically possible to assess the penalty from the start of the second quarter, it would have been impossible to retroactively apply this to the first quarter, which would put the officiating crew in a no-win situation. Either they charge Vandy a second-quarter and/or third-quarter timeout and Temple complains because it wasn’t done in the first quarter, or they don’t charge Vandy any timeouts and Temple complains because the officials are ignoring the rules.

Vanderbilt claims that the SEC cleared the slogan, and in the past conferences have been allowed to clear otherwise illegal jerseys worn by their member schools. However, the allowance for conferences to clear uniforms appears to no longer be in place based on this NCAA memo, making Vanderbilt’s uniforms illegal.

NCAAF: Tulane @ Tulsa

NCAAF: Texas A&M @ South Carolina

NHL Expansion Logistics

It has been reported recently that the NHL is likely to expand to 34 teams in the near future.

Today’s post deals with how I’d adjust the NHL schedule format for expansion.

OPTION 1: TWO 17-TEAM CONFERENCES, 82-GAME BALANCED SCHEDULE

In this option, Quebec and new-Toronto join the Atlantic Division, Las Vegas and Seattle join the Pacific Division, and Detroit moves from the Atlantic to the Central. Teams play 3 games against each conference opponent (48 total) and 2 games against each non-conference opponent (34 total).

The obvious problem with this plan is the limited number of divisional games. This would result in the Leafs playing new-Toronto only three times, for example.

OPTION 1b: TWO 17-TEAM CONFERENCES, 84-GAME NEAR-BALANCED SCHEDULE

This is the exact same as the previous schedule, except with two extra “rivalry” games for each team. 31 of the 34 rivalry games are between teams from the same division; the exceptions are Boston/NY Rangers, Detroit/Columbus, and Carolina/Nashville.

OPTION 2: 18-TEAM EAST/16-TEAM WEST, 82-GAME UNBALANCED SCHEDULE

In this option, Quebec and new-Toronto join the Atlantic Division, Las Vegas and Seattle join the Pacific Division, and Arizona moves from the Pacific to the Central. Eastern Conference teams play 4 games against each division opponent (32 total) and 2 games against each non-division opponent (50 total). Western Conference teams play 4 games against each division opponent (28 total) and 2 games against each non-division opponent (52 total), plus 2 games against rotating opponents from the other division in their conference..

This is the closest to the current format, albeit with the number of games against conference opponents reduced due to the four extra teams.

OPTION 3: TWO 17-TEAM CONFERENCES, 82-GAME UNBALANCED SCHEDULE

In this option, Quebec and new-Toronto join the Atlantic Division, Las Vegas and Seattle join the Pacific Division, and Detroit moves from the Atlantic to the Central. Teams in 9-team divisions play 4 games against each division opponent (32 total) and 2 games against each non-division opponent (50 total). Teams in 8-team divisions play 4-5 games against each division opponent (30 total) and 2 games against each non-division opponent (52 total).

This is an easy modification to Option 2. Alternatively, the 2 extra games played by teams in 8-team divisions could be non-conference, to reduce Detroit’s travel distance at the expense of increasing the Metropolitan Division’s travel distance, but an easier fix would be to just set the rotation up so Detroit and Colorado never play the extra game against each other.

NCAAF: Sam Houston State @ Eastern Washington (FCS Kickoff)

Brendan’s Radical College Football Proposal

Over the past few years, there’s been talk of the Power Five conferences seceding from the FBS and forming their own subdivision. Here’s my way of making the plan work.

The Basics

This plan is based on the idea of there being three divisions of Division I football: I-A (Power Five), I-B (Group of Five), and I-C (FCS). I’m using A/B/C instead of A/AA/AAA because the designation “I-AA” has been used in the past to mean what is currently known as FCS.

The big gimmick of this proposal is that conferences do not play championship games; this game is “replaced” by the first round of the playoffs. Even at 14 teams, all conference championships are decided by record alone.

Definitions

Kickoff Saturday: The Saturday falling nine days before Labor Day. There are five games played on this date, all non-conference games, with each conference hosting one game and playing one game on the road. These games are scheduled by the I-A governing body rather than the schools themselves, and every defending conference champion is guaranteed a game.
Kickoff Exemption: Games played on Kickoff Saturday do not count towards the 12 games each team plays. As a result, teams playing on Kickoff Saturday play 13 regular-season games.

I-A (The Power Five)

Division I-A is comprised of the Power Five conferences (64 teams), plus independents Notre Dame, Army, Navy, and BYU. The members of the 2013 American Athletic Conference, plus Boise State and San Diego State, have the option of immediately joining I-A as independents; if they do not join immediately, they have to go through the normal transition period.

Members of I-A conferences play 12 games: nine against conference opponents, and three outside their conference. They cannot play I-C opponents, and can play a maximum of one I-B opponent. Teams playing fewer than 12 games (excluding Kickoff Saturday) cannot participate in the I-A playoff.

I-A independents play 12 games. They cannot play I-C opponents, and can play a maximum of two I-B opponents. However, Army and Navy are allowed a third I-B opponent if they opt to play Air Force.

Division I-A uses an 8-team playoff, with five conference champions and three at-larges, with a maximum of two teams per conference. The six bowls from the current CFP rotation rotate, with two being the semifinals and four being the quarterfinals. Uniquely, the concept of “bowl tie-ins” still exists in this format – for instance, if the Rose Bowl is a quarterfinal, the champion of either the Big Ten or Pac-12 participates, while if the Rose Bowl is a semifinal, the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions are both placed on that half of the bracket. Obviously, the need to have #1 and #2 not meet until the final supercedes the tie-ins, so if the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions are #1 and #2, one has to be placed on the opposite side of the bracket.

In addition to the playoff, there are eighteen non-playoff-affiliated bowl games between I-A teams.

I-B

Division I-B is comprised of all former FBS teams not in I-A (approx. 56 teams) plus the Big Sky Conference and Missouri Valley Football Conference from FCS. If the American Athletic Conference is left with eight or fewer teams due to defections to I-A, the conference is dissolved and the remaining teams must join another I-B conference. There are no I-B independents.

Members of I-B conferences play 12 games: eight against conference opponents, and four outside their conference. They can play a maximum of two I-A opponents and one I-C opponent. Air Force is allowed a third I-A opponent if they opt to play Army and/or Navy. Teams playing fewer than 12 games cannot participate in the I-B playoff.

Division I-B uses a 12-team playoff, with seven conference champions and five at-larges, with a maximum of two teams per conference. If the AAC is dissolved, there are six conference champions and six at-larges, with a maximum of three teams per conference and a minimum of four conferences with at-large berths. Regardless of the number of conference champions, at-larges cannot get byes.

I-C

Division I-C is comprised of all former FCS teams not in I-B (100 teams). There are no I-C independents.

Members of I-C conferences play 11 games: eight against conference opponents, and three outside their conference. They cannot play I-A opponents, and can play a maximum of two I-B opponents. If an I-C conference has fewer than nine members, the members of their conference gain extra non-conference games to compensate. Teams playing fewer than 11 games (except for Ivy League teams) are allowed to participate in the I-C playoff, but are not allowed at-large berths.

Division I-C uses a 24-team playoff, with ten conference champions and fourteen at-larges. The Ivy League is excluded from the playoff for academic reasons.

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